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Karen Topakian, Senior Consulting Associate

photo of Karen Topakian Karen Topakian founded Topakian Communications, a freelance writing and communications consulting business, to serve the nonprofit social justice community. She writes newsletters, blogs, website content, op-eds and fundraising letters as well as designs and implements communications strategies.

A number of Karen’s articles appear in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal and on her blog, Tour de Farce. The San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune have published her Op-Eds. Her clients have included the California Court Appointed Special Advocates Association (CalCASA), the Data Center, the National Immigration Law Center, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, California Rural Legal Assistance and the Hewlett Foundation.

Prior to starting her own business, she worked for more than 35 years in the nonprofit social change world as the director of the Agape Foundation, a nuclear disarmament campaigner for Greenpeace, a consultant for the public relations firm, Abernathy Anderson, a community organizer, a manager of a food coop and a director of the University of Rhode Island’s Women’s Center.

Karen co-chaired San Francisco’s Fundraising Day in 2003, served on the event committee for San Francisco’s National Philanthropy Day from 2002-2004 and on the fundraising and organizing committee for the Raising Change Social Justice Fundraising Conference. She has spoken on panels of social justice grantmakers, nonprofit executive directors and environmental leaders.

Since 2011, she has served as a mentor for SPIN Academy, which trains social justice activists from across the country in strategic communications. In 2014, she joined the SPIN Advisory Board. In addition to her communications work, Karen chairs the Greenpeace USA Inc board of directors.

And finally, Karen puts her MFA degree in filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute to use as a member of the screening committee for the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

Karen and her partner Peg Stevenson live in San Francisco.